You see them on every single vehicle on the road. You know they affect a vehicle's sound. You've also been told countless times that upgrading them is an essental way to boost your power and performance. But how do mufflers work their magic? What is happening inside a performance muffler that affects your vehicle's sound output and performance? Let's take a look at the different mufflers out there and see how they do what they do.
Your engine generates lots of pulsating noise as its exhaust valves open up to release highly pressurized gas. These thousands of little sound bursts per minute travel quickly down the exhaust pipe, and the noise bounces around to add up into a loud and potentially very annoying sound. The key, then, is to find a way to minimize this sound level before it exits the exhaust system.
Tuning Engine Noise
Mufflers are mounted in line with your exhaust pipes, typically towards the very end before the exhaust tips. They feature a series of perforated tubes or baffled chambers which are designed to tune and minimize your engine's sound output. As noise comes into the muffler, the sound waves bounce around against the baffles, creating opposing sound waves that cancel each other out. And much like an acoustical engineer designing an instrument or a concert hall, muffler manufacturers know how to "tune" the baffles and chambers to create a desired sonic effect. So whether you want to cut as much sound as possible or get a focused sound with an amplified growl range, there's a performance muffler out there for you.
The faster your engine can get rid of exhaust gases, the faster it can take in fresh oxygen and generate more power. Therefore, efficient exhaust flow is essential to power output. Performance enthusiasts generally don't love mufflers, because by design they create some degree of restriction in the exhaust system. But alas, you can't just go out on the highway without a muffler - state and local laws govern sound levels, and mufflers are necessary in order to stay street legal. That hasn't stopped engineers from creating amazing muffler designs that accomplish the sound tuning job while minimizing restrictions, however. In fact, some racers prefer to have a certain muffler to actually improve their exhaust flow - and they're not even required to use them!
There are many different types of mufflers out there, each suited to different performance and sound tastes. If you want a blazing hot sound with a straight-through design that minimizes backpressure, go with a glasspack muffler like the Cherry Bomb Glass Pack. For high performance with great looks, check out the highly-polished stainless steel MagnaFlow Race Series Muffler. Flowmaster Mufflers come in a variety of configurations to suit all kinds of exhausts and performance demands.